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Family Guidance Blog

Alcoholism: Confronting Chronic Denial

Alcoholism 1The disease of alcoholism is often tied to two symptoms that allow it to perpetuate, sometimes undetected, over time – denial and validation. Though not specifically referenced in diagnostic criteria, both symptoms are widely-known to be associated with the disease. Both denial on the part of the person affected and a feeling of validation, either by the person or by family and friends, can serve as significant barriers to treatment and recovery.

Denial is one of the main mechanisms by which the cycle of alcoholism continues despite negative consequences. A person’s level of denial is usually tied to the strength of the addiction. This helps explain why some people drink despite losing a job or being threatened with divorce.

However, denial affects people to different degrees. Some people are more aware of problematic drinking than others, meaning they may be more receptive to treatment. New treatment methods are taking this fact into account and are altering therapy based on a person’s level of readiness for change.

According to a report from PsychCentral, family members and friends can also be in denial about their loved one’s behavior, explaining it away instead as depression, bad health, hot temperament, anxiety or various other conditions. Children of alcoholics may only recognize a problem upon growing up because of the denial that might have existed on both ends. Societal stigma regarding alcoholism often serves to further the cycle of denial; for this reason some families have chosen to simply ignore or hide the issue.

Well-meaning loved ones may also enable patterns of substance abuse without even knowing it. They often have good intentions but the results can be destructive. When those close the person living with addiction either validate or enable the patterns of consumption, those living with the disease are prevented from facing the consequences of their actions and the disease is allowed to continue.

If you feel like someone you care about may be living with addiction to alcohol, the experts at the Family Guidance Center can help. Addiction or dependence on alcohol is highly treatable with the right resources. Family Guidance Center can connect individuals and their families with resources which aid in understanding and working through issues underlying addiction. For more information on substance addiction, contact the Family Guidance Center.

Drinking Increases Risk of Divorce

Addiction 1Alcohol addiction has often been called a family disease. Dependency takes a toll on relationships because symptoms don’t occur in isolation. Chronic alcohol use can inhibit functioning and make it hard for affected individuals to complete routine tasks. A new study shows that alcohol abuse is often the source of marital conflict and has also been linked with higher instances of divorce.

Researchers from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health have found that excess alcohol consumption is a public health issue for most Western countries. They also uncovered that alcohol has predictive value when it comes to foretelling whether or not a couple’s marriage will last – especially when one partner only drinks in moderation while the other consumes heavily.

Investigators re-examined data from nearly 20,000 married couples collected between 1984 and 1986 using regression analysis. Study author Fartein Ask Torvik says findings indicate that the more a person drinks, the higher his or risk of divorce will be.

Interestingly, women who drank heavily had a higher divorce rate than men who did the same. Torik believes this could be because heavy drinking in women is not as widely accepted by society. Other explanations include that alcohol consumption is biologically more impairing for females than males or that excess consumption can interfere with a woman’s role as wife or mother. In any case, marriages where the wife drank heavily and the husband only drank in moderation experienced divorce rates that were triple that of couples who only drank lightly.

The study, which is covered in an MNT article, also shows that two heavy drinkers have a higher likelihood of divorce.

Investigators suggest that in addition to divorce, alcohol may be responsible for other social issues or health problems. The effects of familial alcoholism can also be felt by children. Mental health professionals at the Family Guidance Center can provide support and addiction treatment services for families affected by alcoholism. For more information on local programs, contact the Family Guidance Center today.

Stress Drives College Females to Abuse Alcohol, Develop Disordered Eating Patterns

Mental Health 6People can find themselves living in dependence or addictior for many reasons.  Women in particular may over-consume food, for example, to compensate for areas in their life where they feel a loss of control. New research shows that certain environmental factors may put young women at higher risk of abuse.

An article outlined by Good Therapy online details a study conducted by Anna M. Bardone-Cone of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The Associate Professor of Psychology sought to determine what risk factors may contribute to female college students using alcohol and food in an unhealthy way.

Bardone-Cone asserts that college-aged women are under a lot of stress to attain an ideal that often does not exist. Pressure to succeed academically, be popular, pretty, fit, accepted, and loved all weigh heavily on the minds of young women. To test how this pursuit of excellence impacted women’s decisions to over consume, Bardone-Cone took a closer look at the lives of over 400 campus females. She examined how issues such as body image, pressure to get good grades, and interpersonal relationships affected the drive for perfection and urge to binge when these women didn’t feel good about themselves.

The results of the study uncovered that college females shown to have high academic stress and a drive for social perfection were more likely to eat for emotional reasons. Instead of satisfying hunger, food became a source of comfort and way for these women to avoid confronting their deeper issues of feeling inadequate. Results also showed a connection between body image, pressure to succeed academically, and interpersonal relationships on using alcohol as a coping mechanism.

While the negative impacts of such stressors may seem minimal at first, if allowed to persist, they can increase the risk of  serious  diseases like bulimia or alcoholism. Family Guidance Center has a team of mental health professionals who can help you understand and manage mental health symptoms related to chronic stress, such as anxiety disorders or depression.

Alcohol addiction is a disease, like many other diseases, and professional help is needed to identify triggers and help individuals manage symptoms for recovery and quality of life. Assessments are available daily on a walk-in basis at Family Guidance Center, and can be the first step for a return to quality of life.


Fathers’ Prenatal Health Impacts Future Mental Health of Children

Children Mental Health 3Typically when a woman gets pregnant, the focus immediately shifts to her health as it relates to the health of her baby. It’s known that the physical and mental well-being of the mother weighs heavily on development during the prenatal stage and beyond. However, new Norwegian research has uncovered that the mental health of the father during the period of gestation may be just as important.

Researchers examined 32,000 children to determine the effects of fathers’ prenatal mental health on the mental health of their growing children. Results suggest that a father’s mental well-being may be a risk factor in determining future mental health problems in his offspring.

The survey unveiled a relationship between the mental health of the expectant fathers and the onset of mental health issues in their children. Even after adjusting for other influencing factors including the father’s age, use of substances such as alcohol and tobacco, physical problems, and the mother’s overall mental health, researchers still found a connection.

Weeks 17 and 18 were of particular concern. It was fathers who rated high for depression, anxiety, or mental distress during this time who had children that exhibited behavioral and emotional problems later at 3 years old. These children showed signs of anxiety and had difficulty getting along well with others.

James Paulson, associate psychology professor at Old Dominion University in Virginia who researches family depression says that depression in expectant fathers takes a similar toll as postpartum depression in woman. According to news presented by USA Today, over the last 10 years research has uncovered that postpartum depression in fathers presents similar risks to growing children as maternal postpartum depression.

Study results suggest that parents and doctors need not only pay attention to the mental health of the mother during pregnancy but also that of the father. Paulson stresses the importance of early detection and treatment in minimizing negative health impacts on children. Family Guidance Center, a community mental health center, offers mental health assessments during business hours daily. The team at Family Guidance Center can help you or a family member identify signs and symptoms of mental health problems early-on, as well as a treatment strategy, to maintain a healthy future.

Alcohol is Leading Cause of Death Internationally

Alcoholism 5Health officials are increasingly more concerned about the dangers of alcohol-related injuries. Alcohol-attributed mortality is becoming a public health concern as the death toll creeps up across the globe.

According to a Medical News Today report, data collected by the World Health Organization (WHO) attributes 2.5 million worldwide deaths each year to alcohol related causes. Injuries attributed to alcohol consumption such as vehicular accidents, falls, accidental drownings, and poisonings represent 33 percent of the disease burden caused by the drug’s use.

Despite these concerns, international government policies aimed at alcohol management receive limited attention. Meanwhile, research suggests that the rates for domestic violence, child abuse, worker absenteeism, disease, and fatal car accidents related to alcohol consumption continue to climb.

Binge drinking is rampant in countries such as Mexico, Brazil, Russia, South Africa, and Ukraine. The negative effects of the drug have led some nations to ban alcohol marketing and sponsorship of sports and other events. Health problems connected with alcohol consumption include liver disease, epilepsy, and many forms of cancer. The WHO Report maintains that countries can do more – such as impose an alcohol tax similar to that instituted by the tobacco industry – to prevent related injuries, disease, and death.

Young adults are especially at risk of negative consequences. For men between the ages of 15 and 59, alcohol is the leading cause of death worldwide. Men are at higher risk of hazardous drinking behaviors than women, and the number of men engaging in heavy, weekly drinking episodes is four times that of women.

While some people have no problem drinking responsibly, others clearly struggle. The more alcohol a person consumes, the higher the chances of becoming dependent. WHO figures estimate that 11 percent of worldwide drinkers participate in consistent, heavy drinking. Some people are able to self-manage excessive alcohol use before it evolves into addiction, but others may need additional help. The Family Guidance Center has resources for treatment for alcohol dependence or addiction. Though the factors for alcoholism are multi-faceted, help from mental health professionals and treatment plans based on a person’s goals can alter the outcome. Contact the Family Guidance Center for more information about Addiction Treatment Services.